Coffee Rhetoric: Tastemakers Soul
Showing posts with label Tastemakers Soul. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tastemakers Soul. Show all posts

May 03, 2012

Coffee Buzz: Introducing, Howa.rd

Every now and again, I run into talent that incites me to chorus and prompts me to wonder why that person isn’t famous or signed to some sort of lucrative contract yet.  While building at the monthly networking event, Tastemakers Soul Hartford, I had the opportunity to see an up-and-coming singer called Howa.rd perform; and his musical prowess commanded attention.  Interest piqued, I tracked down his album “The 1st” online, and found that I’d listened to the entire playlist while working, and without feeling the urge to skip past any tracks.  The music was a stellar amalgamation of horns, drums, and bass over syncopated rhythms… and none of it skimped on soul; which made for a delectable stew.  If you appreciate the likes of D’Angelo, Eric Roberson and/or Raheem DeVaughn, then what Howa.rd is serving will definitely sate your musical palate.
Howa.rd‘s talent isn’t merely incidental however, having been born to a musician mother;  
“My mother was a music major possessing a crazy angelic soprano voice that you couldn’t help but fall in love with.  I remember as a youngster, she was a music and choir director for several churches around town. Being that my mom was a single parent with two kids, I went to a lot of choir rehearsals.  Watching and singing along, I started developing my voice.”  He recalls. “I picked up on song structures and started mimicking them at home.  Soon I developed of completely rewriting my own versions of my favorite songs.  The lyrics started there.” 
Howa.rd would later go on to college where he honed his producing skills and began writing and arranging music for choirs, bands, and stage productions. 

Born in Detroit and raised in Nashville, Howa.rd developed musical tastes that spanned the spectrum; having listened to everything from soul, gospel, folk, blues, jazz and country; to pop and rock… the latter genres, a result of watching MTV.
 “Pop and rock music quickly invaded my home on the daily… let’s not forget the mighty emergence of hip-hop. I soon realized my musical tastes were crazy vast. “
When asked if he gleaned any inspiration from current singers/songwriters, he excitedly suggested that I brace myself as he, unsurprisingly, listed the likes of Stevie [Wonder], Bill Withers, Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, Prince and D’Angelo amongst his musical inspirations… 
“I call that my Mount Rushmore, but I’m also inspired by Lenny Kravitz, Phil Collins, Billy Joel, Michael McDonald, and the great Hall & Oates.” He continued.   
The list was pretty extensive if impressive, and didn't stop there. “Sorry, you asked,” he reminded me.  And indeed I did. As someone who’s equally as passionate about literary giants, I totally get it.   

And while Howa.rd’s list of musical influences is at least a mile long, he’s pretty succinct about who he hopes to be able to actually work with if presented with the opportunity…  “Give me Esperanza Spaulding, Andre 3000, The Roots, Lalah Hathaway, Mint Condition, and lastly to throw you a curveball, I’d say Daughtry.” Right on the cusp of happening if he keeps producing and writing quality music.

**(Blogger’s note: “Lowpoint”, “Whatchyoo Think About That”, and "I Want Me Back" are personal favorites).
“God made me musical. Music is my passion. I live and breathe it and I’ll be doing it until I die and see God.”
Let's hope he keeps up the momentum.
“The 1st” can be downloaded for free at vibedeck.com/howa-rd. For updates, "Like" Howa.rd’s Facebook Artist page www.facebook.com/officialhowa.rd and follow him on tumblr: howardtuniverse.tumblr.com


April 23, 2012

Building Blocks

Last night's Tastemakers Soul Hartford was an awesome and productive fete. I met some great people, gleaned and exchanged some insightful ideas.

I'm admittedly averse to "networking" in the most commonly known sense of the word and act and many such ‘schmoozy’ events. In fact I'm anti-networking. To quote noted New York City party planner and social media maven, Bevy Smith ...
 "A word about NETWORKING, a word I detest, an idea I abhor! Folks in a room targeting who they should be talking to based on position ... YUCK!"


And Bevy Smith, who highly endorses building genuine business relationships organically, should know. Her intimate "Dinner with Bevy" gatherings boast an extraordinary list of marketing types/PR types paired with celebrity notables, who'd probably never consider socializing with one another over dinner, under any other circumstances if not brought together at an intimate venue, over a delectable spread, by Bevy. And on that note, having finally attended a Tastemakers Soul- Hartford event, I'd say it was definitely about genuine building than networking, as I've come to know and detest it. People in attendance were looking to connect and possibly cultivate some collaborative projects with one another. There was nary an ego or discriminating conversationalist in sight. And that's definitely something I endorse.

There was a Soul Purpose representative onsite, with delectable products on-hand; as well as writers, singers, editors, PR types, and poets. I shared the first panel discussion with some outstanding and talented folk and we all offered up food for thought on; starting and sustaining useful connections, protecting your personal brand and the importance of business nuance and awareness. I mostly spoke about utilizing social media productively as a writer, to increase awareness and build reputation.

There was second panel called DJ 101, which was a continuation to a previous Tastemaker DJ panel. Subsequent performances included those by spoken word performance poet, Tarishi “Midnight” Shuler and singer/songwriter/producer Howa.rd (who I’ll be interviewing for a Coffee Buzz feature in the coming days).

I definitely look forward to participating and/or attending future Tastemaker Soul Hartford or (similar other) events. Tastemakers Soul Hartford take place every month at Vibz Uptown. It's definitely a welcome and much needed affair, in the HartBeat.

April 10, 2012

Tastemaking in The HartBeat...

Oh yes… time for another ubiquitous plug for this month's Tastemaker's Soul Hartford event, at Vibz Uptown. I will be a part of the panel discussion portion of the affair along with a lineup of other Connecticut notables, discussing "The Written Word". Read the the official word below... 

April is Jazz and Poetry Appreciation month and Tastemakers Soul Hartford will be hosting an event celebrating both on Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 6pm. This event will be held at Vibz Uptown at 3155 Main Street, Hartford, CT. It will feature a night of panel discussions and live entertainment. The evening begins with artist Jeff Bradshaw's (Hidden Beach Records) "Bone Appetit", a new CD that will be released on April 24th. The first two panels will be a discussion featuring poets and written word artists and they include:

Kevin Harewood- Industry Executive, Edectic Ent/Yeagency, Latoya Bosworth- Founder of K.Y.D.S., & Brenda's Child, Tiff Jones- Freelance writer, Blogger and creator of  Coffee Rhetoric, Lenise "NuNuu" Smith- Publisher of S.L.A.M.M. Magazine, Bradford Howard Jr.- AllBusiness Consulting LLC, Carla Jervey- WQTQ FM, Aja Wilson- Jazz/Soul Singer, Smooth Jazz Artist-  Funkee BoyEsnavi- Soul Singer, and Hartford, CT Singer/Songwriter Janae Smith.

The third panel is a continuation of the DJ Business 101 series. Confirmed panelists are: Herman Ham- King of Clubz, Kingsley Osei- Owner of Catchin Wreck Marketing & Founder/Executive Director of Connecticut Against Violence, DJ Showtime- KISS 95.7 FM, Lamonte Hayes- BWP Marketing, Stephen Richardson- CT Music Pool, and DJ Terrible T.

Following the discussions, R&B singer Rashaan Langley; a native of New Haven and also the host of Tastemakers Soul Hartford, will perform with his band. The event will be recorded by Brian Sams of Headbanger Video, LLC and Tony Bass of City Beat MultiMedia Group.

Additional performers slated to appear are R&B Singer and Musician Heshima from Springfield, MA/NY, Dallas-based Neo-Soul Artist Nuwamba, spoken-word poet, Tarishi "Midnight" Shuler from New Haven, Singer and Hartford’s own Janae Smith, and Frank "Mr. Wonderful" Brady of New Haven.

Vendors will be on-site at the Tastemakers Soul Hartford Marketplace and food will be available for purchase by Rajun Cajun. Admission is $8 or 2/$10. Doors open at 6pm.

Tastemakers Soul Hartford has been New England's longest running networking event. Originally an exclusive function, it is now a monthly affair where independent artists are highlighted and local "tastemakers" network and support one another.

For media inquiries, contact Desiree Primus at 413-221-9857.

Related post(s): Coffee Buzz- Tastemakers Soul Hartford